Sam, Schools Assistant, UK

Sam in the UK


A typical gap year consists of traveling as far away from home as possible, meeting heaps of new people and seeing lots of interesting countries. Throw in some snow and major delays, 32 days of my life I will never forget and an awesome support network and then you are somewhat close to my gap year.

4th January 2010 I left little Whangarei behind and went as far away as possible and 24hours later I was in the UK with 100 other Gappies starting the best year of my life so far. Well 24hours after being in the UK we experienced the biggest snow they had seen in over 30years and we got stranded at orientation. But never fear 3 days after we were supposed to leave I got to my new home for the year with my Australian Gappy. Newlands School in Seaford on the south east coast of England was to be my home for 2010 and for the first 2 terms I got to share it with a Brazilian, German and Australian so when the football world cup came round tensions were high to say the least. Then in my last term my Australian Gappy and I welcomed two Canadians to our family and said goodbye to our Brazilian and German gaps.

My year consisted of helping out in PE, Science, Maths, English, Drama and even some PSHE. With my school being so small I got to know all of the kids individually and learn that little thing about them that made them different. I got to see my kids grow up and move on and even help them when life just wasn’t cool anymore. I got to go on trips from mountain biking to arts shows and everything in between. I definitely have to say around every corner there was something new for me to do and I was up for it every step of the way. Every new challenge was an experience and every new experience was a challenge.

But in my spare time I even got to see 17 countries and go on a 32day Contiki tour. Dare I say but my Contiki tour was definitely something I will never forget and we will always stay true to what goes on tour definitely stays on tour. My friends list grew from each country we visited and after 32days around Europe I had acquired another 47 friends to add on Facebook. But every country I visited I made new friends and got to enjoy the local hospitality and cuisine, something which just added to my gap year.

Well after a year of ups and downs and wondering what would be around the next corner it was finally time to leave. However I think the UK must have really enjoyed having us there as we managed to get caught up in the snow which brought Heathrow airport to stop. However 5days later, a bus trip to Manchester and a day in Singapore we all finally managed to arrive home and see our families who we had been missing, and at least we got home for Christmas.

My gap year was amazing from start to finish and everyone along the way was amazing as well. All the Gappies I met I will continue to hold my friendships with. The staff and students at my school, even though I didn’t have the biggest and best school in the UK they made my year what it was and without them there is no way I would have had the time of my life. But the best thing about my Lattitude gap year was the Lattitude staff themselves from day 1 when we got stuck in the snow to the last day we tried to leave, they have always been there for us. Sharyn our country manager staying awake whilst we were trying to get home to actually just trying to get us off in the country she worked so hard and helped in making our year so awesome. My local rep Dee was amazing as well, she came down and checked on us and sorted out any problems we had, and we even managed to have a pint or two at times. The Lattitude staff were amazing and without them we definitely would have been lost. My year had its ups it’s downs and everything in between but it definitely would be a year I would do again in heartbeat if I had a chance. A gap year is amazing and something everyone should do.